Thursday, March 02, 2006

One More Thing - A one-act play by Michel Parent - March-April, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 7:00 p.m.
Lewiston-Auburn College
Admission is free

Thursday, March 30, 7:00 p.m.
The McArthur Library
North Dam Mill in Biddeford
Admission is free

April 21-23 (Fri 7:30, Sat. 7:30, Sun 2:00)
Waterville Opera House - Studio Theater
93 Main St., Waterville
Admission: $12, Students & Seniors $10
Call 873-7000 for Tickets

For directions to these events, see

Below is a review by Steve Feeney from the Maine Sunday Telegram. (from the April, '05 show at the Theater Project in Brunswick, Maine).

Maine Sunday Telegram (Portland Press Herald)
April 10, 2005

Play Evokes Franco Mill Worker's Angst

You might feel compelled to phone your child, parent or some other loved one for reassurance after seeing actor/author Michael Parent's one-man play, "One More Thing." Such is the power of the slice of life depicted.

In just over an hour Friday night, Parent poignantly established the familial world of a retired Franco-American millworker in all its complicated connections and disconnections.

Though much of the piece, set in 1989, is historically specific to immigrants from Quebec, the themes of adaptation and change are in many ways universal. Issues of ethnicity and change have, of course, made up a large part of what America is all about. Parent does an excellent job of sketching some of the major issues within the context of his character's reflections.

Where there might have been a temptation to say too much, Parent wisely allows the audience to fill in some of the blanks, thereby letting the piece breathe.

Mostly seated in an easy chair and using a remote to flip an imaginary TV to either a Bruins or Red Sox game, the white-bearded actor achieves credibility as a 67-year-old widower alone with his thoughts. When not cursing in French at developments on the silent TV, he outlines his family history to the audience.

A portrait of his beloved, departed wife hangs over his shoulder and he occasionally turns to address the visage that holds great power for him, both in terms of love and admonition.

From a family of millworkers, some disabled and then abandoned by owners who have shut down the mills, the old man describes his pride and frustration with his children's life choices. Parent is very good at evincing how his character tries to find connections between his difficult but colorful past and a world, embodied in his kids, that may have little respect for, or understanding of, the old ways.

He recounts stories of uncles who worked two shifts and fathers (his) who were too severe with their children. The dangers of drink are suggested and stubbornness also gets its due.

Parent often uses song or bits and pieces of songs, in French, to evoke the hardy, poetic aspect of Franco-American culture and the way it has been kept alive.

When he finally connects, through a phone call, with the faraway son he has fretted about, the fact that the son still speaks a little French for him seems like the affirmation the old fellow had awaited. The closing blackout, though a little abrupt, holds hope for a generation that has entered a new stage in an evolving sense of identity.

The piece, directed by David Kaye, will also be performed May 14 at the South Portland Library and at the McArthur Library in Biddeford June 16.

Steve Feeney is a free-lance writer who lives in Portland.

Michael Parent
95 Congress St., Apt. 2
Portland, ME. 04101